ASUU Organizes Gathering to Remember Slain U Student


Kiffer Creveling

Wazir Jefferson, a student success advocate, came to speak in front of students, staff, and friends of ChenWei Guo to show the University’s support after the recent shooting tragedy in Red Butte Canyon in the Student Union building on Tuesday, Oct. 31, 2017 (Photo by Kiffer Creveling | The Daily Utah Chronicle)

By Cara MacDonald

The Associated Students of the University of Utah (ASUU) gathered students Tuesday night to remember ChenWei Guo, who was shot and killed at the mouth of Red Butte Canyon on Monday evening.

Held in the Union Ballroom at 5:30 p.m., the event was meant to provide a safe space for support as a campus community.

Guo, a 23-year-old international student in computer science, was sitting in his parked car in a lot near the canyon when Austin Boutain, 24, attempted a carjacking. Boutain shot Guo, fatally injuring him.

U President David Pershing called the shooting a “senseless, random act of violence” in a letter to campus released Tuesday morning.

Racked by loss, fear and panic, the U spent October 31 attempting to recover. Classes were canceled out of respect for Guo, giving students a moment to grieve. The Counseling Center remained staffed all day and has opened the Mindfulness Center from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. for student support the rest of the week.

“We are so deeply affected by the dangerous events of last night and the loss of ChenWei Guo,” said ASUU President Zach Berger at the beginning of the gathering. “This truly is a really traumatic experience for many members of our campus. We all deal with trauma in different ways and we have many resources on campus to help students deal with this tragedy.”

The meeting was intended to be brief and succinct. Berger gave an emotional speech to students, encouraging students to remain united and to support each other.

Student Success Advocate Wazir Jefferson also spoke, organizing a moment of silence in remembrance of Guo and then encouraging the assembled students to hold hands for a few moments.

“As a student body we need to be there for each other to walk each other to our cars and keep each other safe,” Berger said at the end of his speech.

[email protected]